Keep SEAT Leon Cupra 290 or upgrade to Audi S3 or even Golf R


Active Member
Mar 18, 2019
What would you guys do in my position? In your opinion would upgrading and specing similar options be worth it considering I will be losing the £14k that I have already paid into the Cupra?. Would the Golf R give me the fun and the traction I am looking for as oppose to the S3?

Any advice/insight would be help me greatly as I really do not know what to do....
If you want an upgrade (rather than value for money) I would definitely consider an AWD hot hatch. The three I would consider are :-

Audi S3
Golf R - personal lease for around £360 per month (inc VAT) 3x23.
Merc AMG A35 (302 bhp & AWD) - personal lease for about £380 (inc VAT) on 3x23.

There is a good 3-page test review of the Golf R vs Merc A35 AMG in this months EVO magazine (issue 261 - Page 109). The Merc A35 just pips the Golf R for being AMG's best hot hatchback yet - does everything the Golf does with more sense of occasion.

I'm not trying to plug the Merc either as I've had two Golf R DSG's and loved them both, but the review is pretty fair IMHO as I agree the Golf R is not particularly fun or exciting to drive, but is very a very safe and accomplished all rounder to own.

If you want fun to drive most, I'd stick with the Cupra or even consider the new Golf GTi TCR (286bhp).

If you want AWD with excellent traction, a completely planted but heavier ride and no wheel spin most, upgrade to one of the above :beer:


Active Member
Jan 12, 2016
A few personal ramblings:

If you want off the line traction, and that’s really important, then maybe you want 4WD; try the Cupra ST, R and S3. Pick the one you like and ignore everyone else. Same goes for the interior, image etc.

Excepting standing starts, snow and you being an immensely talented international stunt driver, you really can’t go much faster on the roads than in a stage 1 Cupra 280, they genuinely are stupidly quick, ridiculous really. That transfers well to track in both the wet and dry; you seem to need a lot more power in an R to even attempt to keep up. Amazing that you can have a sensible, under stated commuting car that allows you to rock up to a trackday and be one of the quicker cars there, then amble home in comfort and straight back to family duties.

As a car lover, my 280 has kind of broken me, it just does everything brilliantly with no hassle, so much so it’s taken anyway my desire to get other cars. A bit sad in some respects? Or maybe my priorities have changed. I can’t see us getting rid of the Cupra for a very long time, if at all, I may turn it into a dedicated track car at some point. Our VW van is a keeper too, just a great bit of kit for an active life. On the other hand, our Mini JCW convertible will be getting swapped at some point and although we wouldn’t object to a 4WD in the family (had S3s etc before), the S3 or R just wouldn’t be on the list because the Cupra renders them pointless for us. My wife used to be an Audi snob and had a procession of new TTs, S3s etc, the Cupra broke that habit. Although if they did a convertible, 4WD Audi TT, with four seats, then that might be a consideration :D


Active Member
Mar 13, 2019
Golf GTi TCR is absolutely beautiful. I’ve only seen a couple in person and near enough matches the power of Cupra’s.

Definitely take the balloon payment either way and use the positive equity as a deposit for whichever you choose to go for.

I’ve now got a golf GTD and I highly doubt I’ll ever drive anything as fun as a Cupra again however I do believe the interior and build quality just isn’t quite to the standard of competitors.

If you want to be quirky(a bit like having a Cupra before so many became leased) then definitely go for something like the TCR.

Safe and good quality, R.

Get your car stolen, S3.

Have a f*cking good time, Cupra.

Best of luck whatever you decide.
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Active Member
Jan 21, 2008
If you want fun why not a Civic Type R or i30n ....... if i could afford it I'd have an RS3 as I just like not only the 4wd performance but the excellent build quality as I've had 2 mk7 GTIs and they are pretty much on parr with the Cupra for build.

Neil Francis

Active Member
Jan 28, 2019
I’ve got a 2019 Cupra and the wife’s just got a 2019 S3 black edition through work, the audi is miles above the seat in build quality and the way it puts the power down with 4 wheel drive. I’d have an S3 if I could afford it as a daily. My Cupra has annoying rattles and crappy tyre noise on certain surfaces.
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Deleted member 103408

Don't see any where i live but @AndrewJB used to live in Milton Keynes and Seat HQ is in the area so there will be a lot of ex head office cars going around there (which is where I got mine from)


Active Member
Oct 20, 2018
I’ve got a 2019 Cupra and the wife’s just got a 2019 S3 black edition through work, the audi is miles above the seat in build quality and the way it puts the power down with 4 wheel drive. I’d have an S3 if I could afford it as a daily. My Cupra has annoying rattles and crappy tyre noise on certain surfaces.
Hmmm…I don’t agree.

I got an offer in October for an RS3 2018 just before I bought a new Cupra R as an successor for my manual Golf7 R. The RS3 had 600km/400 miles on the odo, demo car. I drove the car. Good performance straight ahead but I strongly doubt the RS3 is faster on track than Cupra R. Comparison 3 MQB performance cars RS3 top of the line, Golf R and my present Cupra R 2018. Not such a big difference, haven't deteced any rattles in any of them. Good quality for all 3. RS3 rather expensive, heavy and no manual gearbox. Not good in my world. I prefer the Cupra since I don’t value the “appearance” (for higher cost) that RS3 gives you, therefore I have a Cupra!



Active Member
Oct 23, 2018
Probably depends where in the country you live. Absolutely loads of S3s and Golf Rs here in Bristol, but I’ve only seen 1 mk3 Cupra in the last 12 months and I work fairly central.

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May have been mine! Haha

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Active Member
Sep 8, 2017
My 2019 Cupra is having work done and I've got 18 plate R courtesy of SEAT ensurance.

Unfortunately the golf feels like an upgrade and it's lower spec'd. I do prefer some of the interior design elements of the Cupra but the golf just edges it on finishing touches.
Things you may not notice immediately.
For starters covers for the cupholders and center console. Lining for door bins and glove box.
Even the extra lighting in the door handles.
The gloss infotainment unit looks more premium too (as long as you keep your fingers away )

Despite what others may have said my 2019 Cupra is loud and has all the overrun features and DSG farts (although the DSG farts don't quite sound like the previous versions)

The 18 plate Golf sounds so much better though, really bassy especially with the flaps open.

The grip on the golf is amazing too, but it doesn't feel as agile as the Cupra.

For daily use I feel the golf is the better car. Although the gap is seemingly closing
Tougher decision between the golf and the Audi if you have the money.

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